Learning Online in Extraordinary Times

Picture of three different students who are learning online

MA Leadership student voices

In mid-March 2020, when the global pandemic was declared, faculty and staff in the School of Leadership Studies mobilized quickly to move the Master of Arts in Leadership (MAL) two-week residency into an online format. As RRU’s founding program, MAL has the benefit of experienced, engaged, and committed Associate Faculty, all of whom rose to the challenge and modelled the way for a whole new experience of online learning. But what was it like for students to engage in this online residency experience?

On August 27, 2020, the School of Leadership Studies hosted a webinar with three current MA-Leadership students: Jason Andrew, Michael Rosen, and Simon Chiu. This webinar was an opportunity for three current students to speak candidly about their experience of studying online during the pandemic. It also provided an opportunity for prospective students—those thinking of applying to the program, or those who have already been accepted and are about to have their own online learning experience—to engage directly with current students.

We would like to express our deep appreciation to the three students who agreed to share their experiences:

Jason Andrew is a 1st year MA Leadership student who has worked for the Ktunaxa Nation Council in the Education & Employment Sector for 14 years.  Jason is currently the Manager of Contracts and Client Services who oversees federal and provincial employment and training contracts that provides services primarily to Indigenous, Status and Non-Status individuals.  Jason is a Ktunaxa Nation Member and is also an elected Councillor in his community of ʔaq̓am.

Michael Rosen is a 1st year MA Leadership student and is currently the Manager of Procurement Process & Systems at Coast Capital Savings Federal Credit Union in Surrey, BC. Michael specializes in the areas of project management and process improvement. Michael has driven a number of medium to large scale projects in the financial services industry, having also worked for Industrial Alliance in Vancouver and Fidelity Investments in Toronto.

Simon Chiu is a 2nd year MA Leadership student and frontline-customer service person-turned-marketer passionate about how storytelling and targeted messaging can improve access to higher education for all. Last year, Simon had a (non-LED) lightbulb moment and applied to the MA Leadership program – a decision that changed his life. As Executive Assistant to the Office of External Affairs at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) located in Metro Vancouver, Simon project manages outbound marketing initiatives that help increase brand awareness and institutional reputation, which aims to attract and retain only the best and brightest minds to KPU. When he isn’t working, you’ll find Simon reading on the beach, riding his road bike seaside, and learning Mandarin Chinese on Duolingo”

Thanks, as well, to Selena Kunar, Rhonda White, Nao Fujiwara, and a whole team of people working behind the scenes, all of whom made this webinar possible.